If you like your dusky sensuality with a bit of the kitten's claws beneath the cat's purr, then you've arrived at the right address. Gina Sicilia blends bluesy atmospheres with torch-singing exuberance, and that smile on her face on the cover shot ain't just sayin' she likes the fact that you brought her flowers, so I hope you've been downing the vitamin E and oysters, Romeo, 'cause you're in for a night. I think the real surprise, though, lies in Sicilia's rather arresting honesty in self-penned tracks like Don't Wanna be no Mother, which took even me by surprise, a dyed-in-the-wool cynic (just ask anyone who's come under the gun in my political essays).
'Torrid' kinda sums up the bulk of this disc, even when it's sublimated in the elastic galumphing sonorities of Please Don't Stop with its quasi-reggae-ish hybrid styling (interestingly a great dance pace as well). But then there's the way cool though odd-ish combination of gospel, country, and jazz in Walkin' Shoes, which still, several listens later, has me stumped as to how the hell she made the combination work (kinda like Blue Oyster Cult did, way over in the heavy metal world, so intriguingly in their first LP). No surprise, though, as Sicilia's a sonic omnivore, and incorporates a lot into her world: cabaret, pop, R&B, doo wop, you name it, it's in here somewhere.
Did I mention she wrote damn near everything here? She did, and when you understand Gina commands up to nine musicians each cut, the impressiveness gains ever more depth. Dig this, though: she was going to be a journalist! It was only the death of mentor Russell Faith, who'd written songs for Sinatra and kept at her to sing and compose, that lit a slumbering spark. Thank God for that. We have more than enough journalists, most of whom are careerist sell-outs anyway, and never enough artists. The society needs more corporate scribbler jackanapes like it needs another Bush in the White House, but—and I'm testifyin' here—we surely need a lot more of It Wasn't Real and in quantity please. So, yo, jazzbos (who are hip to this stuff already), rocksters (think Maggie Bell, Marge Raymond, Gayle McCormick), folkies (you guys especially will love the Parisian refrains in Walkin' Along the Avenue, blending Joni Mitchell with Ben Sidran), and the rest of all of youse, pay attention: you know everything Gina Sicilia's doing, you just haven't heard it put quite like this……and you need to.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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